Indian Railways has entered the realm of private tour operators with a demand-based dynamic fare pricing system, under which premium `Tatkal' tickets could cost passengers double the normal Tatkal fare.
Under the scheme, introduced from 1 October, the Railways will sell half of the Tatkal quota tickets on select high-density routes through the 'Premium Tatkal Scheme'. More the demand, higher the price, that is the new rule for pricing such premium tickets.
These premium tickets can be booked only online through the web site `irctc.co.in' and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the ticketing and catering window of Indian Railways, said the fare would vary according to slabs.
''For instance, the first 20 per cent of the premium Tatkal tickets would have one fare, the next slab would have a higher fare and so on,'' according to IRCTC.
The minimum premium fare is the basic train fare plus the `Tatkal' charges, which vary from 10 per cent to 30 per cent with an upper limit depending on the class of travel. The maximum premium is up to 30 per cent of the base fare or Rs400 (whichever is higher).
The new scheme has made Tatkal tickets more expensive on 80 popular trains. While this may fetch the Railways more revenue, it will also burn holes in the pockets of train travellers, who just missed the chance to book his ticket in advance or has to go on an urgent call.
The new pricing plan was introduced on trains that had heavy rush during the festival season, which will continue for some time now.
Exact details on the fare structure would be available after the Railway Board makes a final decision and the programme is fed into the computer system, sources said.